Building muscle and losing body fat both fall under the larger umbrella of maintaining good health and fitness. And while building a fit and attractive physique sounds like a trivial endeavor, pursuing holistic health shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The U.S. health care rates vary across different states and types of coverage. Additionally, health coverage trends are affected by demographics, economic conditions, and federal policies. To better understand the state of the American healthcare industry, we’ve compiled this list of insightful U.S. health care statistics and facts to aid in your analysis.
Table of Contents
Health Care Statistics in the U.S.
- According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 79% of adults sought medical assistance in 2017 at least one time.
- On average, about $9,700 is spent on healthcare for each American according to 2016 data by the Center for Disease Control.
- Published OECD data shows that the United States consistently ranks above other countries when comparing the annual drug cost per person.
- The U.S. takes the spot for the country with the highest healthcare costs on a consistent basis. (OECD)
- In 2017, $3.4 trillion was spent on the U.S. health care system. (The Atlantic)
- According to 2016 data, the distribution of health care spending was among Hospital Care and Facility Use (32.3%), Physician and Clinical Services (19.8%), Medical Products (13.5%), Prescription Drugs (10.1%), Nursing Home Facility Use and Retirement Care (4.9%), and Dental Related Care and Services (3.8%). (Commonwealth Fund)
- 30% of total health care spending ($765 billion) was wasted in 2017. (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies)
- About 25% of hospital expenses in the U.S. go directly to administrative costs each year. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Even though new technology is constantly emerging in the medical industry, 50% of physicians still prefer using paper and faxes as their primary means of communication. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Fax communication makes up 6% ($15 billion) of the total $250 billion spent on health care communications. (Journal of Healthcare Information Management “Leadership in Health IT”)
- Across different U.S. medical facilities, the frequency of faulty diagnoses is between 5% and 44%. (AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings Archive)
- The data for 3 out of every 10 lab tests are lost and need to be redone. (AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings Archive)
- Administrative issues and errors account for 86% of mistakes made in the health care industry. (Journal of Healthcare Information Management “Leadership in Health IT”)
- If you’re a patient in the intensive care unit, you’re likely to be on the receiving end of 1.7 mistakes per day during your stay. (Critical Care Medicine Journal)
- Similarly, patients in the critical care unit can face 2 medical errors per day. (Critical Care Medicine Journal)
- Some clinical decisions made by 92% of physicians are motivated by avoiding lawsuits as opposed to providing the best care for their patients. (Jackson Healthcare)
- It’s common for specialist physicians to be left in the dark when seeing new patients, even through referrals. A study revealed that 68% of specialist physicians do not receive any patient information prior to seeing the patient. (Journal of General Internal Medicine)
- After visits with specialist doctors, 25% of general physicians reported not having received any information back from the specialist offices. (Journal of General Internal Medicine)
- 35% of specialist physicians and about 63% of general physicians are dissatisfied with the U.S. healthcare system’s patient referral process. (Journal of General Internal Medicine)
- Health provider miscommunication is the reason for incorrect or delayed diagnoses that result in 20% of malpractice claims made by patients. (Ann Inter Med Journal)
- Errors caused by administrative tasks and miscommunication account for maltreatment in 18% of patients, time and financial loss in 22% of patients, and delayed treatment in 24% of patients (AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings Archive)
- Because of records that didn’t make it to their doctor by the required date, about 25% of U.S. patients have received delayed treatment. (Milbank Quarterly)
- Due to the high occurrence rate of malpractice, on average, $364 million was spent by healthcare companies and facilities in the U.S. for family and patient reimbursement. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
- Medical errors that could be prevented kill more than 400,000 people yearly. (Journal of Patient Safety)
- The number 1 and 2 killers in the United States are cancer and heart disease, but the number 3 killer is preventable medical errors. (Journal of Patient Safety)
- 33% of all yearly general physician patients are sent to a specialist. (The Milbank Quarterly: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Population Health and Health Policy “Dropping the Baton: Specialty Referrals in the United States”)
- When general physicians refer patients to specialists, about 50% don’t know if the patients actually go or not.(The Milbank Quarterly: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Population Health and Health Policy “Dropping the Baton: Specialty Referrals in the United States”)
- 70% of specialist physicians receive fair or even poor referral data from referring general physicians. (The Milbank Quarterly: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Population Health and Health Policy “Dropping the Baton: Specialty Referrals in the United States”)
- Hospital spending totaled $377.5 billion in 2012. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- Medicaid and Medicare patients received about 62% of the hospital spending budget in 2012. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- About 55% of Medicaid and Medicare patients were hospitalized for medical reasons. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- Roughly 52% of private insurance patients were hospitalized for surgical reasons. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
- ⅓ of hospitalized patients are harmed as a result of preventable errors. (The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America”)
- 3.7 billion prescriptions were given to patients who visited a physician’s office in 2016. (Centers for Disease Control)
Uninsured American Health Care Statistics
- According to 2018 data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, 27.5 million people or 8.5% of the population did not have health insurance.
- 2017 had a lower percentage of uninsured citizens at 7.9%. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of uninsured children under age 19 increased by 0.6% to a total of 5.5% (U.S. Census Bureau)
- The majority of uninsured people have at least one employed family member and are classified as low-income. (KFF)
- Non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to have healthcare insurance coverage than people of color. (KFF)
- 45% of U.S. adults polled in 2018 said they were uninsured because the cost was too high. (KFF)
- In 2018, 20% of adults needed medical care, but didn’t seek it due to cost. (KFF)
- According to 2018 data, nonelderly adults without health insurance coverage were 100% more likely to experience problems paying for medical expenses. (KFF)
- At the rate of 30,000 to 90,000 deaths per year, depending on the source, lack of insurance has a strong correlation with mortality. (CBO)
- Studies on medical correlations show that uninsured Americans are 40% more likely to die than subscribers of private health insurance. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
US Health Insurance Statistics
- Of all the health care spending in 2016, private insurance companies paid for 19.9% (Commonwealth Fund)
- The Veteran’s Administration and Military Health System provided coverage for about 15 million military personnel in 2015. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Even though the United States is considered one of the world’s major economic leaders, it’s one of the few industrialized nations that does not provide universal health care coverage. (The Atlantic)
- During 2016, approximately 155 million people had employer-based health insurance coverage, with many being in self-funded plans. (KFF)
- 12 million people were covered by “Obamacare” (ACA). Of those, 2 million did not receive subsidies while 10 million did. (CBO)
- According to a 2003 estimate, 16 million adults in the U.S. were underinsured. (Health Affairs Web Exclusive)
- Of those underinsured in 2003, about 73% were low-income individuals with annual salaries below 200% of the federal poverty level. (Health Affairs Web Exclusive)
A Few Health Insurance Statistics by State
- Health insurance coverage data collected in 2018 found that 91.1% of Americans had coverage, but this varied by state. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Despite an overall decrease in health insurance coverage between 2017 and 2018, a decrease occurred in three states while eight states experienced an increase. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- In 2018, roughly 82.3% people in Texas were recorded to have health insurance coverage. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- In 2018, roughly 97.2% of people in Massachusetts had health coverage. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Private coverage accounted for between 54.3% to 79.7% across all U.S. states. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- The percentage of private health insurance subscribers decreased in four states and increased in four states from 2017 to 2018. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Across all U.S. states, public health insurance coverage ranged from 21.3% to 49.4% in 2018. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Coverage of public insurance decreased in 2 states and increased in 11 states from 2017 to 2018. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Across all U.S. states, Medicaid coverage ranged from 10.3% to 23.9%. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- From 2013 to 2018, 46 states saw an increase in public coverage, and 31 states saw an increase in private coverage. (U.S. Census Bureau)
What Can We Learn from Health Care Statistics in the US?
From these statistics, we can see that proper health care is a complicated issue. It’ll take more than public policy to ensure that every citizen gets the care they need.
It’s apparent that there are a number of issues passing necessary diagnostic data between offices. This becomes more obvious when reviewing the high number of preventable errors and issues caused by lost information between general physicians and specialists.
On a more positive note, we can see from the data that the majority of U.S. citizens are covered by some form of insurance whether that’s private, public, Medicare, or Medicaid. Additionally, this number appears to be increasing since 2013.